5.0 Mustang & Super FordsProject Vehicles
1986 Mustang T-Top Finishes - Final Exam - The Project Car
Track TestOur dragstrip testing was done at Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, California, during the Pacific Street Car Association's Orme Brothers' Spring Break Shootout event.
The PSCA is a heads-up drag racing organization on the West Coast that's similar to the NMCA, as it allows all makes of doorslammers to compete in its various classes. One thing we think is cool is the fact that there are a lot of Mustangs competing in some of the heads-up categories, and many of them lay the smack down on the Bow Tie boys on a fairly regular basis.
We signed up for Open Comp, mainly to run the new car on a well-prepped track and get seat time. Our objective wasn't to win the event, and unless we got lucky in eliminations, we knew we would be First Round lunchmeat on Sunday. We were OK with that.
Our first pass was made on Saturday, using the coupe's hard-core drag-race accessories: the Performance Automatic transbrake and torque-converter lockup. Air pressure for the Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials was set at the recommended 15 psi, and a two-step launch rpm of 3,300 was programmed into the MSD Digital-7 Programmable (PN 7531) ignition box. After a not-so-good burnout, we staged and released the transbrake at a flash of amber, and the coupe took off with the tires ablaze for nearly 300 feet.
Going off and on the gas in an effort to knock down the tire spin, keep the engine off the 6,800-rpm rev limiter (the engine reaches this limit instantly), and trying to hit what we think were shift points (the light was probably flashing but we didn't see it) on time was an absolute rush. Despite how ugly the first pass was, the T-top coupe cleared the traps at 11.801/117.09 on its first-ever trip down the strip, which is impressive when you look at the XFI datalog and see there are two fairly long pedaling events out of three total, and we didn't achieve foot-to-the-floor, 100 percent throttle until beyond the eighth-mile mark.
The second pass yielded nearly an identical timeslip (11.803/116.16). We saw the same e.t. with a 3-mph increase in speed after the third lap, thanks to a cooled upper intake and supercharger discharge tube.
On Sunday, we geared up for an all-or-nothing attempt at improving on the 11.80 baseline. We made adjustments to the compression settings on the coupe's VariShock rear coilovers and raised air pressure in the drag radials to 17 psi. We also used information we learned with the datalogger to change some timing and fuel settings and add tension on the blower belt.
All the changes proved to be steps in the right direction. By launching at a lower (2,200) rpm without the transbrake, the coupe left with the wheels up and shot to its best 60-foot time of the weekend (1.539). All remaining variables fell into place, and we scored a much improved 11.318 e.t. at 119.12 mph.
While we didn't baby the coupe during the racing weekend, becoming acclimated to what it does and how to drive it correctly is reflected in the timeslips.
We're beyond confident there's a 10-second e.t. and an easy 8 or more miles per hour in our T-top coupe's near future.
It's A Wrap!We've now come full circle with our rare '86 T-top coupe 'Stang. Numerous build tasks have been completed, and our project notchback is finally up, running, and ready for its official debut to the world-in less than one year's time.
As we mentioned a while ago, our efforts to have the car ready in time for Hot Rod magazine's Drag Week last year were thwarted by time-or lack thereof. But the completed Mustang is confir-mation that taking the time to do things right is always the best option when partaking in a project of this magnitude.
You've all had a monthly, first-hand look at how a 'Stang can be resurrected from junk to rare jewel, and we hope the series has been interesting and infor-mative. We have certainly learned a lot, and we have enjoyed sharing with you everything we encountered-the good and the bad-during the process of building this special 'Stang.